Category Archives: Parenting

Chores “It’s a Hard Knock Life” – Part 2

Isn’t it just the way it goes?

I write a post on chores and training your children to be good workers and what happens? You guessed it…we had one of the worst weeks of chore conflict in years! Yes, complete with angry kids, an angry mom, screaming, accusations, defensiveness, crying and punishments. Not fun! (Calgon..take me away…far away)

I guess I should have anticipated that happening. Immediately after posting Chores – “It’s a Hard Knock Life” last Monday the “hits” on that blog entry sky rocketed, the comments came in one after another and the requests for my list of chores for each room were too numerous to count. It obviously is an area of struggle and desire for improvement for many of us Moms (and Dads too – Hi Tim!). I have learned during my 25 years of preaching, motivational speaking, sharing and writing that when you truly have something to say that adds value to others in any area of life you can count on being “attacked” in that very area. We had a full force war going on over here last week!

The end results were good as we identified several problem areas, realized that I needed to be a bit more “hands on” in my training during this particular season in our family and we dealt head on with some character flaws in a few of the children (the “L” word – L.A.Z.Y.). 

For all who asked for the list of chore details per room here is a PDF of this document  – Chore List (HT: my sister Caroline)

And for those inquiring minds that want more information…here is a list of FAQ’s

What if the kids do not do their chores?

Ummmmm…I am the boss, the dictator, the Mom! Obedience is not optional. 🙂

That said, with 8 children I have had my share of strong-willed, defiant children (and a couple “perfect” ones too!). Some take longer to get under control than others. (working on 15 years with one…love that “apple who didn’t fall far from the tree” girl!) Some take more supervision. Some need effective consequences. But everyone knows that they must comply. It is truly as simple as this – You do not get to do anything fun, go anywhere or have any thing that resembles a “good time” until the chores are completed to my satisfaction. (and yes, there have been times that they have missed a meal or stayed up past their bedtime and suffered the early morning wake up call….but you do not go to sleep until it is done!)

 What if they are not done like you would do them? 

 It depends!  I do not expect the younger ones to be able to do the same level of cleaning that I can do…so I “get over it”. (nope I do not “re-do” or complain)  However by the time they reach about 12 – 14 years old I expect them to clean as well as any competent adult. (and if they can’t then I need to do some re-education)

What age did you start different chores? 

When they are 2-4 they are expected to throw away trash, pick up toys, get dressed, brush their teeth and follow Mommy around watching and learning.  I let them help with lots of things. These are great ages because they usually want to help out!

At 4-6 they are “in training” – which means they get put on the chore chart as an “assistant” to one of the older children. I realize if you have only 2 or 3 children close together or when you are beginning with your eldest this will not work thus you will have to be the “trainer” with an assistant.  During these two to three years they learn how to do all the various chore jobs. (apparently all trainers are not equal since while I was writing this my 7-year-old did not sweep the crumbs from under the dining room table and then blamed her trainers – aka – the “big sisters” for not teaching her correctly…hmmmm….girls?)

At 7 they are put officially on the chore chart fully responsible for their list of chores for that week. Each year after that they should get more accurate and efficient with their given responsibilities. By 12 they should be able to clean for any cleaning service in town! 🙂

How did you keep the little ones on task the whole time without them running away to play? 

Since they have a “trainer” (you or your older children) they do not have the option of running away or getting distracted. 

Is it too late to start at 13?

It is never too late!  However you will need to have a little “pow wow” and share your reasoning for the changes that are ahead.  I would come up with a plan for chores and then sit down with the older child or children, tell them that you have been remiss in teaching them some basic responsibilities in life and that you need to make up for lost time.  The first month I would “roll up my sleeves” and teach them (by doing it with them) to do every chore in your home.  Then I would put up a chore chart and let them take on the household responsibilities. Since they are older I would also have a clear list of consequences for not completing the chores. (and they need to be “painful” if they are going to work – ie: no cell phone privileges, no Xbox, no Internet, no weekend social activities…whatever is their “button”.)

As the kids get older and their schedules & academic pursuits get more intense how do you handle household chores?

First let me say….there are many reasons and seasons that you will need to adjust your chore plan during the years your children are home. We went along with the same schedule for years with only occasional adjustments (like during each of my pregnancies where I was sick and sometimes bed ridden and my husband got to take over the Upper Management position) but when the eldest child started a rigorous academic high school program and also joined athletics and student council we realized we needed to change things up.  That was seven years ago and we have consistently made changes since then – having a unique school year plan, weekend plan and summer plan. 

That is not to say that anyone “gets off” easy just that we move things around to make the system work better.  High School with all its additional demands and responsibilities is a great time to learn effective time management, how to handle stress, priorities, occasional sleep deprivation and that sometimes there is more to accomplish than there are hours in a day. Sounds like a typical adult life to me…and don’t we want them to be prepared and ready to handle being an adult?

Is your house clean all the time? 

Ha! Not at all….but it is usually picked up and presentable. Occasionally it is pristine.  Occassionally it looks like a tornado hit it! (and we let people come over anytime regardless of the state of our home because people are our priority)

You mentioned cooking – is that on the chore chart?

We actually have a monthly dinner calendar posted on the fridge.  It lists everything we will be having for dinner that month. Above each meal is usually listed one of the older children’s names who will be in charge of making that meal.  We spent much of the early years of parenting doing “Once a Month Cooking” and having home-made ready cooked meals in the freezer. On the cooking days the kids helped out and learned many cooking skills.  

I do believe that our children need to know basic cooking skills and how to prepare a healthy meal before they leave our home.

And what about that allowance?

Ok…so lots of you are interested in the how’s, why’s or why not’s of allowance. I promise a post on that soon!

Also, be sure to check out the comments on the first chore post for lots of other good ideas from my readers.

Lastly….I thought I would share with you one of my many “Memo from Mom” an occasional email exchange I have with the family when I have decided not to become a screaming maniac but rather calmly (albeit sarcastically) share my grievances about the household. Although I will confess sometimes I am that screaming maniac…God forgive me!

My dear darling daughters…

Seriously…..
 
Do we really spill spaghetti sauce in the fridge & then leave it there to harden & be disgusting? (of course the other amazing thing is how many other people have opened the fridge & just ignored it)
 
Can no one tell the laundry garbage can needs to be emptied even when it is overflowing & spilling out on the floor?
 
Why is the tortilla bag NEVER….and I mean NEVER zip locked shut?
 
How many times do I have to tell you that cheese must be sealed completely with foil or a tightly secured zip lock?
 
Can someone please explain to me how one can not see a dark red shirt in the middle of the whites as you are putting them in the washer?? (try to blame it on Joy cuz that will show competence)
 
Why would someone put 9 month old clothing in Daniel’s drawer (he is 3 now!)…or how bout his PJ’s in the drawer with his bathing suits…or pants in the drawer with shirts or everything just thrown in the drawer not folded…or his nice church vest in the play closet…seriously??? seriously??? seriously??? Oh wait…his tie behind the toaster…come on ladies! <sigh of exasparation>
 
Ok….that’s it, just had to vent a bit.
 
I love you all!  Zoot! Zoot! Zoot!
 
Mommy
 

 

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Filed under Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Motherhood, My "take", Parenting

Chores – “It’s a Hard Knock Life!”

This is the song often heard blasting through the CD player as my kids were doing their chores.  I guess it makes them feel better as they “slave away” for hours (their perception) completing their individual list of chores for the day.  And as a gracious Mom/Boss who has achieved “upper management” status, I simply smile and let them play it as loud as they want….as long as the job gets done! (which by the way can mostly be accomplished in much less than 1 hour)

I have been asked by many recently to share my “take” on chores and how that area of life plays out for the Lambdin family.  So…here it goes:

I am sure there are as many philosophies, ideas and plans for chores as there are families.  Some families choose to have their kids do minimal chores or even none at all…either hiring help or having Mom do most of the work (after all no one does it as good as mom does, right?). Others  attempt to have their kids take on some chores but don’t follow-up or follow through and end up fighting constantly.  Many do not take the time to train their children how to do the chore properly and then get mad when they do not “do it right”.  Some wonder if they are requiring too much or too little. And I think I can safely say that everyone that has ever lived with more than just themselves has struggled in this area of chores.

My chore philosophy:

  1. Children need to do chores. As a matter of fact everyone living together in a household should have responsibilities in that home.
  2. Children can learn many things through chores – a good work ethic, responsibility, overcoming laziness, pride at a job well done, teamwork, leadership, initiative and appreciation.  Now there is a great list of character qualities that we should all be wanting to instill in our children! (and I bet some of you in business would love to hire people with these qualities to work for you)
  3. Children are capable of beginning simple chores at a very young age (by 2 they can throw away trash, pick up toys etc..) and before the end of their first decade of life they should be competent in most household duties.
  4. My job (at least one of them as it applies to chores & raising my children) is that by the time they leave my home they have mastered all household chores. (Define all: bathrooms from top to bottom, laundry – washing, drying, folding, floors, windows, dusting, vacuuming, dishes, kitchen from top to bottom, defrosting refrigerator, cleaning out cars, weeding, lawn mowing, trash, organizing, de-cluttering, ceiling fans, blinds, simple sewing, ironing and cooking) And this goes for boy & girls…they all need to know how to do these things even if they grow up and hire it out, simply do not do it or have their spouse do it. (I rarely iron because my love is so much better at it than I am…but I do know how)
  5. It is my responsibility (because I am in upper management) to train them on how to do the job, to give clear written expectations, to follow-up and then to recognize them for a job well done.

Now with that said…there are many different seasons in family life and that means we are continually adjusting our chore charts, responsibilities and schedules as our family grows and changes.  For example when I had 4 children ages 6, 3, 18 months and a newborn the chores were mainly done by myself, my husband and my eldest daughter.  As they grew older I spent a lot of time on training.  By the time the eldest reached the age of 10, she stepped into the training role followed quickly by the younger sisters.  During the “middle years” I can honestly say I did nothing…but supervise. It was fabulous! (a well oiled machine!) I am still in that supervisory role but when the older kids began high school (that we see as the serious academic training years) then we had to adjust their chores to weekends & summertime responsibilities putting me back in a more hands on training role with the “littles”.

Ok, ok so you want to see some “practical” ideas not just to hear my theory.

Here you go:

First of all we have always had a chore chart on the refrigerator or bulletin board.  For years I had many months mapped out at a time. (and sadly I never took a photo of those charts…complete with creativity and colorful stickers!  But I assure you I could have been hired as a personnel director for a major company.)  Now we only have one month mapped out at a time because of the multitudes of directions the high schoolers are going, a college student coming home for summer & holidays and thus being added to the chore chart and my new season of having more littles at home daily than big kids.

Here is what the current chore chart looks like:

This allows everyone to easily see at any given moment who has what chore.  We have always chosen to have our kids rotate chores weekly so that they do not get “stuck” too long with an undesirable chore and so that they learn how to do each chore well with years of practice (repetition is the key to learning!). 

Now along with the chore chart calendar….we have a written list of what needs to be done within each chore assignment (complete with check off boxes for those first-born obsessive compulsives who love to check things off a list, for those “beavers” who need accuracy and to do it “right” and it even provides something to color for the free-spirited kids who colored through the entire line with a different color crayon).   There is a check list of things that needed to be done daily as well as things that only needed to be done weekly (we pick one day a week that we call “big clean up” where everything is “spic & span” – deep cleaned – and mommy loves this day!) There were even things that only needed to be done monthly and so we picked one day a month to do those specific chores.

This is what those chore lists look like (and I have this on a computer document so I can adjust and change as needed. I make dozens of copies at a time and put them in a hanging pocket holder for easy access…thus eliminating the “I didn’t know I had to do that in the bathroom” excuse) –

Bathroom

Daily

  • [ ] Toilet, counters, sink – wiped off with Clorox wipes
  • [ ] Floor swept
  • [ ] Rugs vacuumed
  • [ ] Trash emptied (both bathrooms)
  • [ ] Picked up
  • [ ] Mirrors cleaned

1x a week – big clean up

  • [ ] Toilet, Tub, Counters & sink SCRUBBED
  • [ ] Floor scrubbed (hands & knees)
  • [ ] Walls washed
  • [ ] Organize Towels
  • [ ] Clean soap container
  • [ ] Fill up cabinet with toilet paper
  • [ ] clean vase/flowers
  • [ ] Remove Cob Webs

monthly

  • [ ] Organize drawers & hair accessories

I have similar lists for the bedroom, kitchen, living room, laundry, family/school room & backyard (if you would like a copy just leave a comment and I will send you my word document)

Here is where the lists are located and how they are organized:

As the kids get older they usually no longer need a check off list but they still come in handy when they are training the “littles” or of they start slacking off and need a reminder of what they are supposed to be doing.

One more thing – we do not give our kids an allowance for doing chores (actually we do not give allowances at all…but that is for another post) as we believe everyone has a responsibility to take care of our home. We do however have a few paid opportunities that are not on anyones chore list and yet still need to be done.  They change on occasion but until our recent finacial crunch they have been: Mom & Dad’s bathroom,  the china hutch (completely emptying & cleaning), weeding, cleaning the garage.

There it is in a “nutshell”…if you have more questions (What if the kids do not do their chores? What if they are not done like you would do them? What ages do they get added to the actual chore chart?  Is my house clean?  You mentioned cooking – is that on the chore chart? Or any other question) just leave them in the comment section and I’ll answer there so everyone can read them.

And I am sure other readers as well as myself would love to hear how you handle chores in your house, helpful hints or great solutions…leave those comments as well and we can all learn from each other.

Perfect post for Labor Day thinks this Upper Management Mom!

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Filed under Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, My "take", Parenting

Oh Happy Day!

Today is a happy day!

Sixteen years ago today, my eldest daughter Michelle attended a children’s outreach service at our church and at the end she walked the aisle and gave her heart to the Lord Jesus as her Savior & Lord.  I can clearly remember sitting with her in the back of a dimly lit sanctuary along with Dan & her baby sister Amy as we watched a puppet show that shared the simple message of salvation –

  1. God loves you more than you can ever know (to the moon & back) & He wants to be your friend
  2. You are away from God because of  the  “bad” things you do
  3. God sent Jesus, His only son to the earth to die (take your “time out” or spankin’) for your sins
  4. If you believe in Him and speak out of your mouth that Jesus is your Lord….you will be His friend  & get to live forever!

When they asked the kids to raise their hands if they wanted Jesus…Michelle’s hand shot up with no hesitation and she and her daddy walked to the altar where she prayed.  I was bouncing Amy in the back of the sanctuary with tears of joy rolling down my face as I watched my child trust in my Savior.  Yes…..Oh happy day!

mlheart

Having myself been raised in a Christian home and never remembering a time that I did not believe in Jesus (although I clearly remember a life changing event as a teenager when I fully committed my life to Him), we wanted to be sure to memorialize this moment for each of our children…knowing that while there would be different levels of knowledge & faith as they grew and matured this would always be the foundational point of their spiritual lives…the moment they first believed.  So we celebrate each and every year the day that they trusted in Jesus for the  first time.  

5969_102477437661_633092661_2131007_1051612_nToday Michelle has a vibrant & strong faith in her Lord that she strives to “live out loud” each day of her life… and nothing brings me greater joy! Oh Happy Day!

 

 

 

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Filed under Faith, Family Traditions, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Parenting

Where there is a will…there is a way!

I grew up in a family who ate dinner together….

at the table…

with the TV turned OFF…

every night…

at 6pm. 

dinner

My Mom and Dad raised four children who were active, healthy, drug, alcohol & tobacco free, high academic achievers, student leaders with solid moral standards and a strong Christian faith.  Now while I don’t think that eating dinner together regularly guarantees you parenting success, the statistics are pretty convincing that this sacred ritual is something worth making a priority in our homes.

Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University consistently finds the more often children eat dinner with their families:

  • The less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs  (100 – 191% less likely)
  • The less likely they are to have sex at young ages
  • They are at lower risk for thoughts of suicide and depression
  • They are more emotionally content and have fewer behavior problems
  • They have healthier eating habits
  • They do better in school  (academic performance went up 38%)
  • They are more likely to talk to their parents about a problem (40% more likely)

 And yet even with all these powerfully convincing statistics – I have found that many of my friends simply can’t seem to make it happen for their families.  We do live in a different world than the 60’s & 70’s when my parents were raising their family.  So many things have changed and there are so many challenges as well as activities “eating up” our time.

  • Many families have two working parents and are exhausted at the days end and trying to get a meal on the table and sit down together is overwhelming (I wrote a post last fall that might help this challenge – you can read it here)
  • Many families are split up – putting an amazing amount of pressure on the single parent as well as often times having the children going back & forth between two households
  • Many parents are working “odd” shifts” – swing shift or graveyard making it hard to share a meal together
  • Many children are involved in after school activities, clubs, sports, church youth groups etc… (and parents are transporting them to these activities, coaching or chaperoning) often making it a logistical nightmare trying to get everyone together
  • Even the parents have a long list of volunteer activities, book clubs, ladies & guys nights out, Bible studies and even home based businesses that take up night time hours

And yet…I believe if we really want to make it happen we can and we will!

This fall is especially challenging in the Lambdin household as we have three girls playing on soccer teams with varying practice schedules each weekday in the late afternoon/early evening, the high school girls are on the school volleyball team coached by their Daddy and that carload does not walk through the door before 6pm.  The first time we are actually all in the house consistently each evening is at 8pm.  Now that might work in a family without little ones….but my two year old is simply not going to wait to eat dinner that late (besides my metabolism won’t work as well eating a full meal at 8pm). 

As I began to work on our fall calendar this past weekend and realized our current dilemma I began to feel a bit frustrated that our schedules at this season of life are so complicated (you mommy’s of wee ones – be thankful for the less complicated season – hard, yes – but scheduling logistics, much simpler!).  I immediately began to brainstorm our options that would still give us time to sit down & take in a meal together –

  • 8pm dinners – NO,  for the reasons stated above
  • Give it up and just settle for dinner together on the weekends – NO, I am not the “settling” type of gal
  • Have a family breakfast together instead – NO, this would have to happen at 6:30am which means the high school girls & Dan would have to get up 30 minutes earlier than they already do, I would have to get up really early to prepare and mornings are not my best friend, not too mention dragging the 2 year old & 6 year olds out of bed would be a disaster

That is when I came up with this idea.   I will have dinner ready & out in the kitchen for the family to grab and eat from 4:30pm – 6:30pm.  Crock pot type meals that can stay warm and be ready to eat when needed.  (I welcome crock pot recipees – do share!) Paper plates or bowls for easy self clean up. They can eat at the table, at the desk doing homework, in the kitchen or while watching a DVD. They can eat by themselves or with whomever is around at their personal dinner time.  Then around 8pm every night we will all sit around the set table, candles lit, dinner music playing and have a light snack together with coffee or hot tea.  We will alternate between fruit & nuts, cheese/dips & crackers, light appetizers and desserts.  We will offer our prayers & blessing on the food, share stories of the day and enjoy sweet fellowship with the family.

We began last night as this is our first week of the craziness of our fall schedule and will continue this routine Monday through Thursdays (yay for weekend dinners together at 6pm!) until mid November when soccer and volleyball come to an end.  It was a perfect solution and everyone loved it!

Let me encourage you to make taking in a family meal together a real priority! (at the table, with the TV off  –> nice dishes, candles & music are a bonus!) If it helps even a little to keep your kids healthy, off drugs, not depressed, academic achievers with fewer behavior problems as well as more likely to talk to you – it is worth the effort…don’t you think?  Besides it is so enjoyable to spend time with those you love and the memories are priceless!

  Yes….where there is a will…there is a way!

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Filed under Consistency, Family Traditions, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take", Parenting

Living life at both ends of the spectrum

As I type this I am watching a pretty wild and rambunctious pillow fight taking place on my bed.  The toddler and the six year old are going at it with gusto, as I protect the baby girl from their flailing arms. The computer is bouncing up and down, I just got a foot in my face and I am about to ban them from my bedroom…

….but I stop myself because this morning I have a fresh awareness that these moments are fleeting and will all too soon give way to the solitude that comes with grown up children and an “empty nest”.  I decide to stop wishing for some peace and quiet and just take it all in.  Perhaps I have an advantage that other moms with hyped up, super energetic young ones don’t have – after all how many mothers of wee ones just drove their eldest child to the airport to wave goodbye as she went off to her second year of college?  How many have a baby wrapping her fingers tightly around their thumb while not wanting to let go of the hand of  their  adult child? How many mommy’s are living both ends of the spectrum at once? Yes, that is one of the advantages of having children over a span of two decades…perspective.

ml baby

I know many of my friends are at the tail end of their parenting years. They have two or perhaps three children all close in age who one by one are headed out the door leaving an emptiness, strange quietness and hole in their hearts along with the question…”Where did the time go?”  They long to go back in time to the days when their children were young and all under their roof.

I also have several friends with many little ones clinging to their knees who would love a moment of peace and quiet or would pay big money just to have time alone.  They think that this season will never end where they often cannnot even get in a shower, rarely hold an adult conversation and are always exhausted from the never ending job of being a Mom.

What I want to say to those about to have a completely empty nest – embrace this new season of life.  Be the best parent to your adult children that you can be.  Spend time praying for them.  Finish that scrapbook you started when they were babies (or that you thought about starting).  Be encouraging & uplifting – supporting their decisions and giving wisdom and advice when you are asked (they likely won’t listen to you anyway if you give it before they ask). Use your new free time to make a positive difference in the world and impact those around you.  Remember all those things you wished you could do when the kids were little?  Do them! (hmmm or here is an option – you could always adopt a child and begin again!)

And to those stressed out, overworked, about to go crazy mommy’s of little ones, I want to say –  Don’t wish it away.  Enjoy this season.  Relax. Let things go and don’t be so uptight.  So what if your house is a mess, you have days where you never get dressed, your to do list never gets completely done, your children are not perfectly “coiffed” or you just can’t seem to keep it all together.  It is ok. Make memories with your children. Love them and enjoy them at every stage –

  • Snuggle that newborn in your neck, rock them to sleep, smell their amazing aroma, stare in wonder at their fingers & toes
  • Watch your infant sleep peacefully – breathe in & out in their rythm, tickle their tummies and take in that unbridled laughter, spend hours looking into their pure eyes and trying to make them smile
  • Play with your toddler, get on the floor and crawl around in the dirt with them, explore with them all the things that catch their attention
  • Laugh at the temper tantrums, sing “Fits are the pits”, “I’m allergic to griping” or some other song when inappropriate behavior pops up (discipline can be fun too…for you anyway – I could actually put on make up or eat a cookie with my coffee during time outs!)
  • fits
  • Read with your children – even if it is the same book over & over. Teach them to read. Tell them stories. Lay in bed with them & let them come in bed with you
  • Let them have pillow fights, horse play and jump on the bed . Squirt whip cream right into their mouths, be spontaneous and fun – it is ok….no it is great to let them run in the rain, get muddy,  jump in puddles, climb trees, go swimming in the winter, skip school for a day, eat pie for breakfast. (my list goes on & on – as long as it is legal & moral)
  • rain
  • Blow bubbles with them, swing together, have tea parties, play games, turn up the music loud & sing together, dance with them , laugh with them and cry with them.
  • Go to their games, school events, productions, activities and concerts.  Cheer wildly. Take pictures.
  • Let your teenagers sleep in, be respectfully opinionated and even occasionally roll their eyes (in fact have an eye rolling competition! I win every time!) Walk away and do not engage when they are “having one of those days”.
  • Open your home and heart to their friends, take an interest in their passions and pursuits.
  • Kiss them good morning, good bye & goodnight. Be generous with your affection and tell them you love them at every opportunity
  • kiss

Whatever season of parenting you are in – make the most of every moment, celebrate everything and enjoy the precious gifts of life you have been blessed with – your children.

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Life Lessons, Parenting

Her children arise and call her blessed

mom 001Gloria Virginia Winslow Borden is a lovely Christian lady with a strong, independent, adventuresome spirit whose positive outlook, faithful heart, solid commitment, strength and encouragement have had an awesome impact on my entire life. She is my mother!

My mother gave me life, love, physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment, a solid family and a warm & wonderful home. mom 002She was and is always there for me. She instilled in me values, principles and paradigms that have positively impacted my life and that I hope as a mom to pass on to my own children.  Let me share a few:

  • Her Christian faith & values allowed me to see Jesus as my Friend and Savior.  She loved the Lord and along with my father faithfully took us to church every Sunday, had family devotions and centered our home on the Lord. She taught me to follow God’s commandments yet made serving the Lord a celebration of life! I will always remember a note on the refrigerator that said – “Is what you are doing pleasing to God?” My Mom role modeled a life that is seeking to please the Lord.
  • Her commitment to marriage and family was unshakable. Smomhe was married to my Dad for 35 years before his death. I grew up with the security and stability of knowing that she believed that marriage was forever and that she would never forsake her commitment to my father. She not only spoke these words often but she lived them out daily always being diligent to work at strengthening her marriage. She often told us that the best thing parents can do for their children is to love each other.
  • She was a “Stay at home Mom” with a commitment to being there to raise her children.  Even though she had a college degree and a teaching credential she gave up a career to stay at home and be there for her children. (she did go back to work after her children were grown and had a dynamic and succesful 20 year career as a teacher and also earned her Masters Degree along the way – the best of both worlds!) I was blessed to have my Mom at my side for every important moment of my growing up years.
  • Her positive attitude and her belief in me was amazing!  I know that my successes and accomplishments in life are a result of my mothers attitude and words.  She began each morning on a positive note saying…”This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it”. She truly looked at the positive side of life. mom 003She believed in me and told me on a regular basis that I was smart, talented, creative, beautiful, special, successful and good.  She always shared her belief that I could do anything in life that I set my heart and mind on and that God had created me for a special purpose.
  • Her adventuresome spirit is inspiring!  Because of my Mom, I have a zest for living.  She was never one to sit in front of the TV or lay around being “bored” (nor were we allowed to). Mom saw life as something to grab hold of and get the most out of and she taught me to do the same. Even into the 7th decade of her life she is zip lining through the rain forests of Costa Rica, teaching English in Thailand, walking the streets of New York City and cruising to Antarctica…to name a few!
  • My mother is classy, cultured and proper lady.  I have learned the importance of RSVPing (something sadly lacking in today’s society), writing thank you notes, dressy properly for the occasion, setting a proper table, speaking correctly, acting like a lady (and being treated like one from a true gentleman), having good manners and avoiding all appearances of evil.  She also brought culture into my life making sure I was exposed to concerts, symphonies, the theater, musicals and museums. My life is richer because of her influence.DSC_7058

Those are just a few ways that she influenced my life. On this special day set aside to honor our mothers I want to say thank you to my Mom.  I am truly thankful for all that she was, is and will continue to be in my life.  I love you Mom!

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Filed under Blessings, Inspiration, Motherhood, Parenting

Deep breathing

I finally figured it out!

Yes, after twenty years of motherhood it has finally hit me what the real purpose of the Lamaze classes were, that I took prior to the birth of my first child.  Just in case you have not yet experienced labor & delivery and you think that the purpose of these classes is to help you get through the pain of childbirth by implementing breathing & relaxation techniques, let me set the record straight.

Now, I am sure that there are a precious few who would “swear” by the effectiveness of  these breathing methods – but I am not one of them.  Just a few hours into labor after almost hyperventilating and after being given pitocin which effectively slams you into intense labor instantly, I screamed nastily at my sweet husband — “YOU BREATHE!” , as he was trying to coach me in these techniques. (a few minutes later I spit water in his face – nice, huh?)  I have never taken those classes again but have used various ways to get through my six following labors, including but not limited to – squeezing the living daylights out of my husbands hand, digging my fingernails into his arm, grabbing the nurses by the shirt (truly embarrassing), moaning, groaning, griting my teeeth, writhing and of course my personal favorite – EPIDURALS!

But just this past week it became perfectly clear to me why up & coming Mommies need to learn breathing techniques and it has nothing to do with the birthing process.

It is much more useful for the parenting process that will follow.

This last week I had an opportunity to put those breathing techniques into practice when, in the blink of an eye, our peaceful morning turned into a disaster.  After cooking the kids a delicious breakfast of french toast for a Friday morning treat – we were happily going about our morning routine of chores and school work when…..CRASH!  I looked up and saw that my beautiful 21 month old baby boy had pulled our 19 inch  TV & stand down onto his head. I jumped up from my seat just five feet from where he was lying and immediately began to panic as he started screaming with blood pouring out of his mouth.  My pulse shot through the roof (as I am sure my blood pressure did too), my mind began to race and I tried to make a quick decision as to the best course of action.  Do I call 911? Do I rush him to the ER? What do I do with the little ones here at home?  Do I take them with me? Should I call a friend or rush over to the neighbors and ask them to drive me to the hospital or watch the kids? As my robe became soaked with blood and the sobs of baby boy increased I began to panic and then…..breathe.  My clear minded 13 year old daughter called her Dad and in an instant he was headed home to take us to the hospital.  And during that eternal 15 minute wait….I breathed…. and breathed…. and breathed along with calling on the name of Jesus for help.

After it was all over (and we are praising the Lord that the worst of his injuries were five stitches, several bruises and a lost front tooth – no head injuries, concussion, facial fractures or permanent damage), my ten year old was recounting the story of the morning and sharing how Mommy was breathing really heavy during it all.  That is when it hit me – Lamaze!  That is really what those classes are for – all the crisis times you are sure to have for years after giving birth to a child!

And it is probably a good thing they don’t tell you at that time in life when you are anticipating the birth of your first child,  that you will truly need to learn to “breathe”  as a parent, because you just might have to –

  • wave goodbye as they wheel your child down the hall behind closed doors into surgery
  • listen to a life threatening or terminal diagnosis for your precious child
  • watch your child writhing in pain after an injury or accident
  • get a phone call from the hospital informing you that you need to come down right away
  • see your star athlete go down for the count and not get up
  • hold them in your arms as they cry after a heartbreaking disappointment or defeat
  • feel like you are going to go mad with all the bickering, stubbornness or bad behavior you deal with daily
  • sit by the clock that is slowly clicking, hours past their curfew and wondering if they are dead or alive
  • watch as rebellion, disobedience  or bad judgement bring them tragic  or life altering results
  • kiss them goodbye as they leave to fight for their country
  • endure being separated from them by distance, disappointment or disagreement
  • or God forbid if you lose them to death at any age (we as parents are suppose to go first!)

In fact, I never remember anyone sharing with me that children would bring into my life such intense heartache and pain.   Would I do it all again if I knew the pain and suffering I would have to endure?  Would I do it again even if it turned ugly or tragic?  Would I do it all again even if I lose my child to death?  

  • Absolutely!
  • Definitely!
  • Without a doubt! 
  • In a heartbeat!
  • No questions asked! 
  • Yes!  Yes! Yes!

Why? Because the love, joy and utter fulfillment my children have brought to my life is worth every bit of pain, heartache, dissapointment or suffering I have ,or will in the future , have to endure.  They are worth it all!

I will just have to remember my Lamaze training and my faith….breathe deeply and call on the name of Jesus! (and perhaps get a relaxing massage – I sure could use one after Friday – Whew!)

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Filed under Endurance, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood, Parenting